FirstNet’s Schrier on New Public-Safety Meetings, App Interoperability and Privacy

“We want to talk to public safety about what they’re using today and how we can improve those capabilities with the apps store or bring new capabilities to them to solve operational problems,”

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) representatives plan to continue meeting with the public-safety community to discuss operational issues around mobile data. The meetings will likely be regional versus state specific, said Bill Schrier, FirstNet senior advisor, from the CES show last week in Las Vegas.

“We want to talk to public safety about what they’re using today and how we can improve those capabilities with the apps store or bring new capabilities to them to solve operational problems,” said Schrier, who was on several panels during CES, an annual consumer electronics show. “We’re pretty excited to be working with public safety in a set of meetings nationwide that are more focused on capabilities and apps, but also the operational things they need, the pain points that might need to be addressed with mobile data and apps.”

AT&T executives will also participate in the meetings. “They are not presenting or selling but determining what public safety’s needs are,” he said. “We’re going to listen to what their apps are today and what they need. AT&T will be at the table to ask questions.”

Schrier said most applications will be interoperable on any carrier, although “there will be some apps that won’t work as well on other carriers. AT&T will make available APIs (application programming interfaces) to interact with the network.”

He used an example of a body worn video camera that connects to AT&T’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. If an officer is in trouble and sends a distress signal, the AT&T network could send a peril call to other officers that would involve the LTE core functionality only available on the FirstNet and AT&T network. However, he said most applications will work across carriers.

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